Front page screed

EYESAILOR

Super Anarchist
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But straight after Reliance, the NYYC changed the rules to get rid of such extreme boats, and went to the Universal Rule that Nat had designed because he felt that yachts, including AC yachts, should be more seaworthy and practical. So, of course, did Lipton who wrote of his wish for a "more wholesome and seaworthy type of boat" and eventually won when the Universal Rule was adopted in the AC. So many of the greatest names in the AC felt that it should NOT be sailed in something as radical as Reliance, but in more mainstream boats like the Js which used the same rule as smaller club-racing boats. Reliance is arguably such an outlier that she can't be used as an examplar.
1. Lipton never won the America's Cup .....under the universal rule or any other rule.
2. There was nothing "mainstream" about the J boat class. Only 10 original J Class boats were built over 7 years. They brought innovations to the AC and sailing that had never been seen before....solid rod rigging, aluminum pear shaped spars, grooved spars instead of hoops, the park avenue boom, and staggering sail areas.

Reliance was EXTREME. Nothing as extreme has been built for the AC before or since. The current foiling monohulls can sail in a wider wind range and varied sea states than Reliance could even begin to contemplate.

The theme of this thread is to ask about Anarchist David?
  • Does he have any understanding of the history of the AC? NO
  • Are facts in his article generally correct ? NO
  • Does he write well in a thoughtful way ? NO
  • Is anything he writes worth the time taken to read ? Nope...IMHO.
 

EYESAILOR

Super Anarchist
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2,001
There are more facets to the argument than just raw numbers, of course, and I never indicated that there wasn't.

The promotion of any sport is incredibly complex and the history of popular classes revolves around things like US taxation, social psychology, dinghy storage, the American military-industrial complex and cooler (icebox) manufacturing, post-war reconstruction, French philosophy and the width of the Austin A40. However, when the numbers indicate that the course that WS, the AC and others appears to be way off, surely we should not ignore them?

To use the example you brought up, back in the day the 14, although the mutts nuts, was not the fastest or more radical thing afloat (that was a C Class, IC or Pen Duick) but it was arguably much more accessible than the extreme boats of today. Arguably what was even more important is that the sport wasn't promoting itself by showing off the dogs bollocks like the Int 14, the International Canoe or the leading edge big boats like Toria, Miss Helmsman or Int Canoes; it was doing extremely well by promoting Mirrors, Snapdragons and occasionally 12s , perhaps the BITD equivalent of RS200s, Beneteau Oceanii and Maxi 72s.

The equivalent to a Moth BITD would have been an International Canoe. Both are fantastic boats (which I have owned and loved) but when the sport was booming no one pointed to the Canoe (or C Class) and said "that's where the sport should be heading"; they pointed to the OK, Solo, Merlin, FD, and Enterprise - and that concentration on the realistic end of the sport kept it strong.

And say what you may about the numbers, but if they keep dropping off as they have been in many places over the past 30 years then the sport is in deep trouble. Should we just ignore them and keep our eyes closed?
So if I understand you correctly, you are suggesting the AC should have been held in a Mirror Dinghy or the Snapdragon, but having lost that magnificent opportunity, it is not too late to host AC 37 in RS 200s?
 

EYESAILOR

Super Anarchist
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As someone who has run a growing class (now one of the world's fastest growing in terms of sheer numbers as well as growth rate) and run or helped to run strong and growing clubs,
I'm curious now. Which class?

I think where I disagree is that I do not think that the AC ever has, or ever will, affect the growth of the sport of sailing at its grass roots.
When sailing took off in terms of popularity it had nothing to do with the AC. The factors which caused sailing to decline to a more realistic plateau have nothing to do with the AC.
 

Curious2

Anarchist
627
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So if I understand you correctly, you are suggesting the AC should have been held in a Mirror Dinghy or the Snapdragon, but having lost that magnificent opportunity, it is not too late to host AC 37 in RS 200s?

No, and I don't see how you got that idea. My reference to sailing promoting Mirrors and Snapdragons didn't say anything about that promotion being in the AC. The point is that sailing was promoted, in specialist and general media, by showing popular and accessible boats that the normal person could own and sail.

In sailing's boom era, the AC normally took up roughly 3% of editorial space in sailing periodicals. Compare that to the sailing media today.
The mass media also highlighted the popular and accessible boats of the day, such as the famous photo spreads that launched the Sunfish and Hobie, or the promotion of the Enterprise, Signet and Mirror by popular newspapers, and the TV series about the constructon of the Mirror. The sailing media's input can be seen by the popular, accessible boats they sponsored - the Cadet, Graduate, Snipe, Rudder Lark, National 12, Vee Jay, etc. They didn't promote the extreme boats of the day, like International Canoes or C Class cats, in the same way because they knew the way to grow the sport was by promoting accessible boats for the average person.

1. Lipton never won the America's Cup .....under the universal rule or any other rule.
2. There was nothing "mainstream" about the J boat class. Only 10 original J Class boats were built over 7 years. They brought innovations to the AC and sailing that had never been seen before....solid rod rigging, aluminum pear shaped spars, grooved spars instead of hoops, the park avenue boom, and staggering sail areas.

Reliance was EXTREME. Nothing as extreme has been built for the AC before or since. The current foiling monohulls can sail in a wider wind range and varied sea states than Reliance could even begin to contemplate.

1 - Lipton won the argument with the NYYC about the rules, not the Cup itself. He wanted the AC to be sailed under the Universal Rule, and it was.

2- a) The Js were mainstream in that they fitted neatly into the existing big mainstream big class that had sailed around the UK (and occasionally in Germany and the Med) for decades. They were actually LESS radical than the previous generation of "Length and sail area" rule boats.

Compare Shamrock IV, for example, to Shamrock V. Number IV, designed to the Universal Rule but NOT to the J Class, weighed 25% less on a waterline only 5ft shorter, and carried more sail area on a more lightly constructed hull. How is the heavier J with its smaller rig, heavier construction to Lloyds A1 rules and a fully-fitted interior complete with bathtub, an "extreme" boat?

b) Yes, Enterprise seems to have had the first alloy mast, but it was very quickly banned when the class introduced rig weight minimums - weights that were so high that Enterprise herself became uncompetitive. How "extreme" is a class that bans its own "extreme" features?

If bringing in new spar materials makes a class "extreme" then 505s (which seem to have pioneered carbon masts in 1979), 12 Metres (which had a boron spinnaker pole in 1970 and experimental Mylar sails about 1968), Contenders (I think a 1969 Parker example was the first carbon hull) are "extreme" and the wooden IOR maxi Condor of Bermuda (first big-boat composite mast, I think) are also "extreme". In fact if introducing a new material makes a class "extreme" then the O-Jolle (predecessor to the Finn but much heavier) is far more extreme than a J Class!

c) Park Avenue boom - see above. Just introducing a form of spar (or similar equipment) that is quickly banned does not make a boat "extreme". If having a new style of boom makes a class "extreme" then CCA boats, '80s IOR boats and probably a bunch of other boats are "extreme".

d) Grooved spars were old hat, having been used on Clipper d'Argenteuils since at least 1878, and in Bermuda Fitted Dinghies in the 1880s.

e) Sorry, but the claim that Js had "staggering sail areas" is completely wrong. The J Class sail area was pretty much fixed at about 7600 ft2. Compared to other big cutters like Vigilant (11,588 ft2), Volunteer (9,271), Valkyrie III (13,900), Maria (11,700), Oimara (9,520), Meteor II (12,323) or the First Rule 23 Metres (9,000 sq ft), the Js had noticeably SMALL rigs.

The fact that the Js had such small rigs (compared to earlier boats of similar size) was one reason that Heckstall-Smith said they were "a combined cruiser and racer" on which "the owner and his family can live aboard in greatest comfort", and some of them did.

Uffa Fox and John Irving both noted how similar the hull lines of the 1893-vintage Britannia were to the Js. Britannia was also larger and initially only 1.8 seconds per mile slower than the J Class Shamrock V. A new boat that is almost like a 37 year old design in shape and speed is not "extreme". The Js were also very similar in displacement and sail area ratios to the Second Rule 24 Metres; how does being so close to a Metre boat make a class "extreme"? Is a 37 footer that is similar to a 6 Metre "extreme"??

3- Reliance was ONE BOAT. Not only was she just one boat, but she was of a type that the NYYC and America's Cup legends like Herreshoff and Lipton then got rid of from the AC by introducing the Universal Rule, which created heavier boats with less sail and a more moderate shape.

If we are going to play the game of using one boat as some sort of proof of what the AC is about, then one could apply the same logic and say that the AC is about liveaboard cruisers, which is what Galatea was. Actually, until the 12s came in there were probably more AC boats that had full cruising-type accommodation than were stripped out racing shells.

Reliance sailed and won in up to 20 mph of winds and heavy seas (to use contemporary descriptions) which seems to have been all she was exposed to - not because she did not go out, but because that's all it blew when she was supposed to sail. When she raced in 20 mph and heavy seas she beat Vigilant's old record for the course, and also won on a day when the two other defence contenders retired with damaged gear and Columbia lost a man drowned. Please identify the days she did not race because the wind was too heavy.

4 - So about how "mainstream or "extreme" the Js were - may I ask you some questions?

How would you define "extreme" versus "mainstream"?

How many other racing boats were as big or bigger than the AC boats, before the 12 Metres came in?

How large were the other big boats in the regattas the AC boats (before the 12s) often sailed in?

How many other boats of the time were built to the same rules as the America's Cuppers, both before the 12s and during the 12 Metre period?
 
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shanghaisailor

Super Anarchist
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Shanghai, China
There are more facets to the argument than just raw numbers, of course, and I never indicated that there wasn't.

The promotion of any sport is incredibly complex and the history of popular classes revolves around things like US taxation, social psychology, dinghy storage, the American military-industrial complex and cooler (icebox) manufacturing, post-war reconstruction, French philosophy and the width of the Austin A40. However, when the numbers indicate that the course that WS, the AC and others appears to be way off, surely we should not ignore them?

To use the example you brought up, back in the day the 14, although the mutts nuts, was not the fastest or more radical thing afloat (that was a C Class, IC or Pen Duick) but it was arguably much more accessible than the extreme boats of today. Arguably what was even more important is that the sport wasn't promoting itself by showing off the dogs bollocks like the Int 14, the International Canoe or the leading edge big boats like Toria, Miss Helmsman or Int Canoes; it was doing extremely well by promoting Mirrors, Snapdragons and occasionally 12s , perhaps the BITD equivalent of RS200s, Beneteau Oceanii and Maxi 72s.

The equivalent to a Moth BITD would have been an International Canoe. Both are fantastic boats (which I have owned and loved) but when the sport was booming no one pointed to the Canoe (or C Class) and said "that's where the sport should be heading"; they pointed to the OK, Solo, Merlin, FD, and Enterprise - and that concentration on the realistic end of the sport kept it strong.

And say what you may about the numbers, but if they keep dropping off as they have been in many places over the past 30 years then the sport is in deep trouble. Should we just ignore them and keep our eyes closed?
I was actually trying to be supportive with what I wrote. I do not disagree that the C Class ( a good friend of mine won the Little America's Cup back in the day) or International Canoe were exciting but I go back to what I say that not everyone had the skill set for a Canoe, few had deep enough pockets for a C Class and there was only one Pen Duick (of the type I assume you are referring too).

"Out there" boats don't grow our sport. I have had three of the boats you mentioned, the OK, (back in the wooden mast days) the Enterprise (my old club had a fleet of 25) and a Merlin Rocket that is still one of my favourite former boats. Boats that greater numbers of lesser sailors can sail is what is likely to grow the sport, NOT Moths or the like. In 10 days time I am umpiring (more accurately on the water judging) a fleet of 40+ J-80s in what we have grown to consistently be the biggest one design keel-boat event in the whole of Asia (fleet average 40+ over past 4 years) and is considered the 'must do' event in China for the non-pros. That has taken a lot of effort, a strict adherence and management of the rules along with evening sessions on same. Most importantly is a boat that not only can the 'experts' shine in but also one the relative beginners can 'survive' in without feeling fools. I may be wrong but perhaps that is part of the reason they keep coming back? I don't know.

We don't have a problem with falling numbers here but it takes a lot of work bu many many people to keep the momentum going. Biggest problem we had here was the sailing media here, mainly magazines (who i often think don't know the sharp end from the blunt end) continuously promoted boating as for the super rich but that image is, thankfully, now fading away. There are a few sailing centres/schools and some get 100+ youngsters on the water every weekend - little acorns perhaps but it has to start somewhere.

As a sport we are, and always have been, pretty poor at promoting ourselves and it is not a cheap sport for someone to try out and try as they might the likes of America's Cup, SailGP and the Volvo might have wow factor but while attracting the public on the day are less likely to get many saying 'I want to do that'.

Much more likely IMHO that a kid sees another kid on a Topper or a Feva, come ashore grinning and chattering to their mates and say "Mum, can I have a go at that" - then we have them. I've seen it happen many times.

In one of the Topper sail sizes a Chinese kid was World Champion 3 or 4 years back. From a non sailing family, saw others sailing, had a go and got to the top of the tree. That's how it works.

Just my tuppence worth

A really worthwhile discussion though as anything that brings people into our sport can never be a bad thing.

Cheers and see ya on the water

SS
 

Curious2

Anarchist
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I was actually trying to be supportive with what I wrote. I do not disagree that the C Class ( a good friend of mine won the Little America's Cup back in the day) or International Canoe were exciting but I go back to what I say that not everyone had the skill set for a Canoe, few had deep enough pockets for a C Class and there was only one Pen Duick (of the type I assume you are referring too).

"Out there" boats don't grow our sport. I have had three of the boats you mentioned, the OK, (back in the wooden mast days) the Enterprise (my old club had a fleet of 25) and a Merlin Rocket that is still one of my favourite former boats. Boats that greater numbers of lesser sailors can sail is what is likely to grow the sport, NOT Moths or the like. In 10 days time I am umpiring (more accurately on the water judging) a fleet of 40+ J-80s in what we have grown to consistently be the biggest one design keel-boat event in the whole of Asia (fleet average 40+ over past 4 years) and is considered the 'must do' event in China for the non-pros. That has taken a lot of effort, a strict adherence and management of the rules along with evening sessions on same. Most importantly is a boat that not only can the 'experts' shine in but also one the relative beginners can 'survive' in without feeling fools. I may be wrong but perhaps that is part of the reason they keep coming back? I don't know.

We don't have a problem with falling numbers here but it takes a lot of work bu many many people to keep the momentum going. Biggest problem we had here was the sailing media here, mainly magazines (who i often think don't know the sharp end from the blunt end) continuously promoted boating as for the super rich but that image is, thankfully, now fading away. There are a few sailing centres/schools and some get 100+ youngsters on the water every weekend - little acorns perhaps but it has to start somewhere.

As a sport we are, and always have been, pretty poor at promoting ourselves and it is not a cheap sport for someone to try out and try as they might the likes of America's Cup, SailGP and the Volvo might have wow factor but while attracting the public on the day are less likely to get many saying 'I want to do that'.

Much more likely IMHO that a kid sees another kid on a Topper or a Feva, come ashore grinning and chattering to their mates and say "Mum, can I have a go at that" - then we have them. I've seen it happen many times.

In one of the Topper sail sizes a Chinese kid was World Champion 3 or 4 years back. From a non sailing family, saw others sailing, had a go and got to the top of the tree. That's how it works.

Just my tuppence worth

A really worthwhile discussion though as anything that brings people into our sport can never be a bad thing.

Cheers and see ya on the water

SS

My apologies for getting the wrong end of the stick, and I can only agree 100% with what you say, which is all backed up by lots of studies and by the history of our sport. People get into the sport by seeing it done by people they can relate to, on gear they can relate to. Watching superstars who seem unattainable (ie sailing boats the average person will never sail) turns some people off, and there is no evidence that it turns people onto the sport.
 
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Sailbydate

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Kohimarama
Interesting discussion, with lots said about the history, but little speculation about the future.

What I want to know is - what is the future of yacht racing?
 

Curious2

Anarchist
627
226
Interesting discussion, with lots said about the history, but little speculation about the future.

What I want to know is - what is the future of yacht racing?

If it continues on its current course (ie believing in simplistic cliches)? Continued decline overall, steepening over the next 10 years as a large proportion of current sailors age out. Some classes that have been doing OK have hit the demographic cliff lately.

Well run and innovative classes that are accessible and shape their course on evidence rather than bullshit will do OK (as will most of the big classes with diversified foundations, ie Laser) but many will do poorly or almost die. So classes like perhaps RS200 and J/70 will go well and, like several of the current "mega classes", will expand with success into the developing world and Asia.

Some countries will also see less of a drop-off than the general world trend, perhaps including the UK, France and Germany; it seems that the latter two actually measure activity and because they have data they are less likely to believe bullshit. Well run clubs (ie those that are accessible and market well and don't believe in bullshit) will continue to do OK and could even use modern communications to grow (my small club is up 300%+ in three years). The US will be one of the nations that suffers the steepest decline. NZ is going to be interesting. National surveys show that sailing activity is down to one-third of what it was in '97/'98 in NZ.....

There will still be small pockets of extreme high-performance classes, but the smaller such classes may well all but vanish over the next decade. Many of the older classes with low participation rates will all but vanish as the sport in general declines. However, modern communications will allow those who sail such boats to maintain some sort of class activity, even if it's just on line with little actual class racing.

Conversely, "bucket list" events like the Fastnet will continue to show strength for some time, especially in 2H racing under ORC/IRC/PHRF type rules rather than box classes, which will remain very limited in geographic area.

The boatbuilding industry overall will decline, because existing boats are lasting so well and the difference between a good older boat and a good current one of accessible price (ie not a full carbon machine) is becoming so small that it's not worth the cost to many people, and the fall in the pool of potential buyers will hurt demand.

BUT......

IMHO things won't be that bad. Some NAs seem to be getting trained staff, who have been educated and don't believe the BS. And with modern networking, we may see the creation of a pressure group composed of many of the popular, accessible classes who can band together and either pressure NAs and WS, or just form a new group. I'm supposed to be having a chat soon that may spark the rebellion. It may not happen, but a class I'm in (and ran for a while) went from having 8 people doing championships to 350 at a single event (and they are running out of charter kit for the worlds) so it's amazing what a spark can lead to.

Eventually, sense will prevail and sanity (and therefore growth) will return to the sport.

One thing I'm fairly sure of is that many of the people who have been swallowing the "broadcast high-performance pro sailing will be great for the sport" bullshit since 1978 aren't ever going to be innovative enough and modern enough to be able to drop that 45 year old dog of an idea, despite the fact that it's flopped about 20 times.
 
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Sailbydate

Super Anarchist
11,645
3,283
Kohimarama
If it continues on its current course (ie believing in simplistic cliches)? Continued decline overall, steepening over the next 10 years as a large proportion of current sailors age out. Some classes that have been doing OK have hit the demographic cliff lately.

Well run and innovative classes that are accessible and shape their course on evidence rather than bullshit will do OK (as will most of the big classes with diversified foundations, ie Laser) but many will do poorly or almost die. So classes like perhaps RS200 and J/70 will go well and, like several of the current "mega classes", will expand with success into the developing world and Asia.

Some countries will also see less of a drop-off than the general world trend, perhaps including the UK, France and Germany; it seems that the latter two actually measure activity and because they have data they are less likely to believe bullshit. Well run clubs (ie those that are accessible and market well and don't believe in bullshit) will continue to do OK and could even use modern communications to grow (my small club is up 300%+ in three years). The US will be one of the nations that suffers the steepest decline. NZ is going to be interesting. National surveys show that sailing activity is down to one-third of what it was in '97/'98 in NZ.....

There will still be small pockets of extreme high-performance classes, but the smaller such classes may well all but vanish over the next decade. Many of the older classes with low participation rates will all but vanish as the sport in general declines. However, modern communications will allow those who sail such boats to maintain some sort of class activity, even if it's just on line with little actual class racing.

Conversely, "bucket list" events like the Fastnet will continue to show strength for some time, especially in 2H racing under ORC/IRC/PHRF type rules rather than box classes, which will remain very limited in geographic area.

The boatbuilding industry overall will decline, because existing boats are lasting so well and the difference between a good older boat and a good current one of accessible price (ie not a full carbon machine) is becoming so small that it's not worth the cost to many people, and the fall in the pool of potential buyers will hurt demand.

BUT......

IMHO things won't be that bad. Some NAs seem to be getting trained staff, who have been educated and don't believe the BS. And with modern networking, we may see the creation of a pressure group composed of many of the popular, accessible classes who can band together and either pressure NAs and WS, or just form a new group. I'm supposed to be having a chat soon that may spark the rebellion. It may not happen, but a class I'm in (and ran for a while) went from having 8 people doing championships to 350 at a single event (and they are running out of charter kit for the worlds) so it's amazing what a spark can lead to.

Eventually, sense will prevail and sanity (and therefore growth) will return to the sport.

One thing I'm fairly sure of is that many of the people who have been swallowing the "broadcast high-performance pro sailing will be great for the sport" bullshit since 1978 aren't ever going to be innovative enough and modern enough to be able to drop that 45 year old dog of an idea, despite the fact that it's flopped about 20 times.
It's obvious to me and many others I'm sure, that you've given this a great deal of thought, @Curious2 Thanks for sharing your ideas. Plenty to think about.
 

dogwatch

Super Anarchist
16,904
1,587
South Coast, UK
What I want to know is - what is the future of yacht racing?

That can hardly have a single answer. I'm not sure there is another sport out there that is equally varied.

If I look at my local scene, the two classes that have thrived in the last 5 years are the Aero and Cape 31. They could not be much more different, with one major exception, which is that the builder/distributor has put major effort into supporting their owners, including those struggling at the back of the fleet. Perhaps the most successful long-time non-SMOD class in the UK, the Merlin Rocket, has also done a great deal over decades to bring its new helms and crew up to speed.

As far as professional/advertiser-supported sport goes, I have little doubt that the charge towards faster boats, including foilers, will continue. "Here is a new class, slower than its predecessor" isn't really much of a marketing line.

As a participation sport, sailing is going to continue to struggle for two reasons. Firstly, it is highly committing and time-consuming at a time when the middle-class/professional people who have always been its mainstay are under ever-increasing time pressure due to changes in parenting expectations and the always-available work culture. Secondly, because millennials in most sailing nations are finding it much harder than their parents did to establish themselves in the type of lifestyle that might include boat ownership and Gen Z aren't going to find it better. 21-40 year olds are an endangered species in many sailing clubs. We have parent-supported youth and grey hairs with few in between.

Versus such societal changes, I am afraid debating who should be promoting sailing and via which kinds of boats is a case of rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic. There have, of course, over the years been multiple "saving sailing" threads, much like this one, on the main SA board. None made the least bit of difference. Certainly, trying to learn lessons from the dinghy boom of the 1960s is barking entirely up the wrong tree because we are no longer that society. So far as clubs and classes will thrive, it will either be through supporting newcomers to this bafflingly complex sport or through presenting what is new and exciting. That is, through one of two almost entirely different propositions. There is, therefore, room for both.
 

shanghaisailor

Super Anarchist
3,120
1,268
Shanghai, China
Interesting discussion, with lots said about the history, but little speculation about the future.

What I want to know is - what is the future of yacht racing?
I would be surprised if it is much different than now. Water ballast was the future, canting keels were the future and so many other things but the number one class sailed by relative mortals, the TP52 still has bums on the rail, fixed keels, a tight box rule and incredible racing. And the rest of us? For the most part happy with what we've got and the competition at whatever level we aspire to. The fact that in a normal year 1,500 owners will get off their ass, sometimes before dawn for a race round the Isle of Wight. Electronics might further improve but I had my first load path laminates (Sobstad Genesis) 20+ years ago, tin rigs still outsell carbn and one of my current boats (built in 1982 was already a composite construction - sure materials have change but the basic concept hasn't much.

Maybe, just maybe some people are getting fed up of the up- down-up racing format that so many events now run to. In my old club in Scotland Course E6 mucht be up to a mark off the Hawes, across to a channel market the other side of the Firth, factor in tide, is it too shy for the kite, hug the coast to look for the eddy and so on. Now in so many events, get to the top mark set the kite on a wind course of X degrees, gybe after y minutes, round the bottom mark, back to the top, set the kite on the same x degrees, gybe after the same y minutes - YAWN!!

Sorry if people aren't having fun and doing something that requires a little 'zing' to the activity then they might just, as the computer says in War Games suggest "How about a nice game of Chess!"

The other thing about these sorts of discussions about sailing is that 95% of sailing boat owners are quite happy not to race but still get tons of enjoyment out their boat. I can't recall seeing many vacant berths on my last trip back to the Solent. One of the most memorable seasons I recall is when i took my first boat with a lid (a Corribee) across Scotland to Ardfern. A beautiful drive and launch day followed by gusting 54kts overnight with my then girlfriend panicking the mooring would fail then waking to a dusting of snow. The season that followed had slipping into remote anchorages with one eye on the sounder or having to anchor in a small bay (generous description) because the tide was going the other way faster than my hull speed where i wanted to go or perhaps best of all anchoring in a cleft knowing there were no other human within 4 miles and waking to the sound of an otter barking. I was there every singe weekend AND the annual holiday and hardly scratched the surface.

And that whole season I was showing as one less boat taking part at my home club's racing roster - Oh dear, panic!!!

Our sport has so many facets
 

Curious2

Anarchist
627
226
That can hardly have a single answer. I'm not sure there is another sport out there that is equally varied.

If I look at my local scene, the two classes that have thrived in the last 5 years are the Aero and Cape 31. They could not be much more different, with one major exception, which is that the builder/distributor has put major effort into supporting their owners, including those struggling at the back of the fleet. Perhaps the most successful long-time non-SMOD class in the UK, the Merlin Rocket, has also done a great deal over decades to bring its new helms and crew up to speed.

As far as professional/advertiser-supported sport goes, I have little doubt that the charge towards faster boats, including foilers, will continue. "Here is a new class, slower than its predecessor" isn't really much of a marketing line.

As a participation sport, sailing is going to continue to struggle for two reasons. Firstly, it is highly committing and time-consuming at a time when the middle-class/professional people who have always been its mainstay are under ever-increasing time pressure due to changes in parenting expectations and the always-available work culture. Secondly, because millennials in most sailing nations are finding it much harder than their parents did to establish themselves in the type of lifestyle that might include boat ownership and Gen Z aren't going to find it better. 21-40 year olds are an endangered species in many sailing clubs. We have parent-supported youth and grey hairs with few in between.

Versus such societal changes, I am afraid debating who should be promoting sailing and via which kinds of boats is a case of rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic. There have, of course, over the years been multiple "saving sailing" threads, much like this one, on the main SA board. None made the least bit of difference. Certainly, trying to learn lessons from the dinghy boom of the 1960s is barking entirely up the wrong tree because we are no longer that society. So far as clubs and classes will thrive, it will either be through supporting newcomers to this bafflingly complex sport or through presenting what is new and exciting. That is, through one of two almost entirely different propositions. There is, therefore, room for both.

You can still learn lessons from earlier societies - especially when there is evidence that some of them still apply.

The fact that time is short for many people, and money is short for others, is exactly why we should concentrate on accessible boats. People who are short of time and money aren't normally able to buy and sail extreme boats, which is exactly why we should concentrate on promoting boats they can own and sail. Much of the case I am making is that it's not helpful to promote the extreme side of the sport to people who cannot afford the time and money to do that sector.

"Here is a new class that is slower than its predecessors" worked for Formula 40s; ProSail 40s; Ultra 30s; Ultimate 30s; Grand Prix 18s; the World Match Racing Championship; the America's Cup for many years, and other pro events. After all, how many viewers knew the performance difference between the Extreme 40s and the Formula 40s? So clearly, whether the new class is faster is pretty irrelevant.

As far as the value of such threads go; I know that threads like this helped to encourage people who were fairly critical (or utterly vital) in the events leading to an International class surviving and reviving, and a new International class being launched. So contrary to what you say (and of course there is no way in the world you have any way of proving your claim) such threads CAN play a significant part in our sport.
 

dogwatch

Super Anarchist
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1,587
South Coast, UK
As far as the value of such threads go; I know that threads like this helped to encourage people who were fairly critical (or utterly vital) in the events leading to an International class surviving and reviving, and a new International class being launched. So contrary to what you say (and of course there is no way in the world you have any way of proving your claim) such threads CAN play a significant part in our sport.

And you don't seem to be prepared to back up your assertions with identification of the class or people involved. We are just supposed to believe you. You talk a lot about data without actually producing your data. You reel off a list of failed classes as examples of success. You claim the World Match Tour as an example of the success of slow classes when the only thing that saved it was a move to the M32.

You are setting standards on your interlocutors that you decline to follow yourself. I have better things to do than continue with this.
 
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Rennmaus

Super Anarchist
10,505
2,031
That can hardly have a single answer. I'm not sure there is another sport out there that is equally varied.

If I look at my local scene, the two classes that have thrived in the last 5 years are the Aero and Cape 31. They could not be much more different, with one major exception, which is that the builder/distributor has put major effort into supporting their owners, including those struggling at the back of the fleet. Perhaps the most successful long-time non-SMOD class in the UK, the Merlin Rocket, has also done a great deal over decades to bring its new helms and crew up to speed.

As far as professional/advertiser-supported sport goes, I have little doubt that the charge towards faster boats, including foilers, will continue. "Here is a new class, slower than its predecessor" isn't really much of a marketing line.

As a participation sport, sailing is going to continue to struggle for two reasons. Firstly, it is highly committing and time-consuming at a time when the middle-class/professional people who have always been its mainstay are under ever-increasing time pressure due to changes in parenting expectations and the always-available work culture. Secondly, because millennials in most sailing nations are finding it much harder than their parents did to establish themselves in the type of lifestyle that might include boat ownership and Gen Z aren't going to find it better. 21-40 year olds are an endangered species in many sailing clubs. We have parent-supported youth and grey hairs with few in between.

Versus such societal changes, I am afraid debating who should be promoting sailing and via which kinds of boats is a case of rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic. There have, of course, over the years been multiple "saving sailing" threads, much like this one, on the main SA board. None made the least bit of difference. Certainly, trying to learn lessons from the dinghy boom of the 1960s is barking entirely up the wrong tree because we are no longer that society. So far as clubs and classes will thrive, it will either be through supporting newcomers to this bafflingly complex sport or through presenting what is new and exciting. That is, through one of two almost entirely different propositions. There is, therefore, room for both.

Bold: There is, motorsports. Hundreds of classes, expensive gear, high maintenance, very time consuming, very resource consuming for the organizers, and struggling with participant numbers on a grass roots level.
 

Curious2

Anarchist
627
226
And you don't seem to be prepared to back up your assertions with identification of the class or people involved. We are just supposed to believe you. You talk a lot about data without actually producing your data. You reel off a list of failed classes as examples of success. You claim the World Match Tour as an example of the success of slow classes when the only thing that saved it was a move to the M32.

You are setting standards on your interlocutors that you decline to follow yourself. I have better things to do than continue with this.
So far in this discussion, I have given plenty of specifics, including sail areas of individual yachts, the specifics of pro classes that were slower than ones they followed, the percentage drop in sailing participation in NZ, and comparative sales figures on about 20 classes. If you asked for more information I'd have given it. For example, if people claim that having elite athletes as role models is important in encouraging kids to take up a sport, one can show them data like this. http://easm.net/download/2012/40f039976ea2cb2e271e241b0697237a.pdf If people want to know why one can have more confidence in Germany remaining a strong sailing nation, one can show them the 2000 to 2021 figures in the DOSB Bestandserhebung reports and NZ's SPARC surveys, which show that sailor numbers in Germany have remained static while those in NZ have dropped by two thirds.

Be honest, and don't claim I am not giving data when I am.

No one can state as a fact that discussions like this have never borne fruit, since that would require knowing the motivations and actions of every single person who has ever read such a thread.

It's hypocritical of you to repeatedly refer to your experience at this un-named club of yours, and then to demand that others name names. I have never insulted you because you seem to keep your own identity quiet, and never seem to give any information about your supposed club.

For the sake of the record, one of the classes I was referring to was the Kona, which has had over 100 entries to multiple world titles. The other was the Windsurfer LT (which currently has 369 entries for its second world title). Forum discussions like this and resultant correspondence between the former president of what was then the only extant association in one of those classes and the creator of the other helped encourage them to revive one class and create the other. I know this because I was one of those involved.

I practise what I have researched, and it works. You claimed to know something that no one could possibly know, and you were wrong.

The list of pro classes I gave was data that proved that your claim that you can't run a pro series in a boat slower than older ones is rubbish. You may ignore it, but the fact is that many of those pro classes were slower than earlier classes.

About the WMRT, you completely ignored two things; the fact that the WMRT has for many years regularly switched from faster to very slow boats (like the International One Design) and that in 2019 the M32 manufacturer dropped out of the WMRT (probably due to lack of M32 sales) and it reverted to a mono series.

www.sailingscuttlebutt.com

Monohulls to top Match Racing Pyramid >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

Launched in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) has been the leading professional match racing series sanctioned by World Sailing. But as the
www.sailingscuttlebutt.com
www.sailingscuttlebutt.com

The 2020 worlds were sailed in IODs. The 2021 finals (cancelled due to Covid) were to be sailed in Far East 28s. https://wmrt.com/far-east-28r-selected-for-world-match-racing-tour-finals/ The WMRT this year has been sailed in boats like Catalina 370s; Tom 28s; J/70s and similar boats.

Why you believe pro series have to be sailed in ever-faster boats is a mystery, unless you believe the IOD is faster than the M32, in which case I have news for you.

Why you believe that the WMRT was "saved" by a switch to M32s is a mystery, since the M32s are gone and the WMRT is still around.
 
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dogwatch

Super Anarchist
16,904
1,587
South Coast, UK
It's hypocritical of you to repeatedly refer to your experience at this un-named club of yours, and then to demand that others name names. I have never insulted you because you seem to keep your own identity quiet, and never seem to give any information about your supposed club.

"Supposed club" indeed. You joined in 2007 yet your screen name seems new here. I suspect you are a stalker I previously had. Life is too short, bye bye.
 

EYESAILOR

Super Anarchist
3,557
2,001
As someone who has run a growing class (now one of the world's fastest growing in terms of sheer numbers as well as growth rate) and run or helped to run strong and growing clubs, it's odd that those bodies have never been asked how we have become successful.

I'm curious now. Which class? Which club?
If you asked for more information I'd have given it.
Again, which class and which clubs?

Are you referring to the Kona windsurfing class? I confess I had never heard that they had an independent class association. The "class stuff" page of the website consists of an image of what looks like the empty lobby of a hotel. 30 boards built in 2020 and 2021 does not qualify it as one as the fastest growing classes in the world in sheer numbers, or even commercially successful in the windsurfing and SUP market place. . They haven't held a world championship since 2019.

However I think you throw a lot of passion and energy into the sport so I admire you for that. I think that sparkplugs like your self have more impact on the sport than than these forums.

I just happen to disagree with your premise that high performance sailing, and the televising of high performance sailing damages the sport of sailing. I think that @dogwatch and @shanghaisailor are more on track in understanding the decline from the sport's peak. Even if SS uses 30 words where 10 will suffice.

I also think that articles from that ancient crone Anarchist David merely demonstrate how out of touch he is with sailing today, and I don't know what that says about Sailing Anarchy that they publish such gibberish. SA badly needs to find some relevant authors or resign itself to an irrelevant site.
 




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